The Patriots Have a Better Arrest Record than Most NFL Teams

Despite two high-profile arrests, Patriots players have generally done a better job staying out of trouble than the rest of the league.

New England Patriots at Washington Redskins 08/28/09

Image Credit: Keith Allison on Flickr


Much has been said about how the Patriots have lost their way in light of Aaron Hernandez’s murder charge. Those voices are only going to grow louder with today’s news that Patriots defensive back Alfonzo Dennard was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence last night in Lincoln, Nebraska. Dennard’s arrest, following so quickly on the heels of Hernandez’s, is probably getting more attention than it would have as an isolated event, though admittedly, this is not Dennard’s first run in with Lincoln’s law enforcement. So what, if anything, do these pair of arrests say about the New England Patriots as an organization?

As it turns out, not that much. Or at least, they probably say more about the NFL as a whole than the Patriots as a team. Using a database of NFL arrests since 2000 compiled by the San Diego Union-Tribune, the good folks over at have created a cool (and alarming) timeline of the arrests, broken down by team.

Including the events of last night, the Patriots have now had 15 arrests since 2000, not counting Dennard’s 2012 arrest for assault, which happened before the draft. They have the 10th fewest in a league of 32 teams. Despite two arrests in a span of just over two weeks, Patriots players have done a relatively better job staying out of trouble than the rest of the league. (But then, neither have they been the best behaved team.) The Sports Geeks’ timeline totals 661 arrests (which jumps to 665 if you include players who were arrested as free agents), or an average of nearly 21 arrests per team since 2000.

If you’re curious, the teams with the most arrests since 2000 are:

  • Minnesota – 40
  • Cincinnati – 40
  • Denver – 35

The teams with the fewest arrests since 2000 are:

  • Houston – 9
  • St. Louis – 9
  • Arizona – 11

Of course the sports media’s overwhelming focus, for now at least, will be on the Patriots, and there will likely be more pontificating about how this is another sign of a break from the “Patriot Way.” (If anything, these numbers reveal that the Patriots’ ‘Way’ never placed them very far apart from the rest of the league in the first place.) The seriousness of the crimes obviously impacts the reputation of the player’s team as much, if not more, as do the frequency of arrests. Murder is no small thing.

But the larger picture still shows that Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick — whose partnership began, appropriately, in 2000 — have done a slightly better job identifying players who will stay out of trouble than the majority of other teams in the league.